Anxiety at christmas time

I don’t know if anyone can relate to this but I hope they can, and I hope they can give me or show me a way to get my head around it. I do have generalised anxiety, but I suffer from a lot of anxiety related to the giving and receiving of gifts, particularly at Christmas time.

I have always been that girl who was at school who gives extravagant gifts; not because I was rich, but because I saved up my money all year because I was so afraid that people wouldn’t like gifts I gave them if they didn’t cost a lot. This still happens now, although I have started to appreciate that expensive gifts make people feel awkward. I like it when people tell me we have a gift ‘limit’ – a budget on how much we are going to spend on each others’ presents – at least I have a guideline then.

One of the main anxiety triggers I have is the moment of giving the gift – their reaction – whether they will like it – what they will think of it – what they will think of ME – whether I put enough thought into it. All these things are running through my head on a constant cycle for each person in the run up to Christmas, and it drives me crazy. Even worse though, is the anxiety triggered by the receiving of gifts.

Firstly, the thought of someone actually going out and spending time thinking about something I like should be heartwarming, and I wish it was, but at the moment it isn’t. It makes me feel sick because they might get fed up, and blame me for being a waste of their time. I KNOW this isn’t logical – you don’t need to tell me that – but I believe that is the thought process I am going through and by discussing it maybe I can find a way of stopping it. Next, the actual receiving of a present. How do I react? What expression to I use? What am I trying to make them think? What do I say? Do I smile, do I cry, do I look happy, sad?

You see, as you well know, being a Borderline you cannot trust your own emotions and behaviour. Having manipulated your own behaviour and the thoughts and behaviours of others for so long, it is almost impossible to just ‘be normal’ and act normally – because there IS no normal for us Borderlines. Everything is manufactured, everything is manipulated, and I am starting to understand that now. That is why I understand that I cannot live without Borderline – because take away the Borderline and I will have no way to behave, think and act; we have thought about and manufactured our own behaviour and emotion for so long there is no other way – it just doesn’t come ‘naturally’ any more.


  1. Angel O'Fire · · Reply

    In my opinion there is no such word as ‘Normal’,
    I can relate to the feelings your expressing in your blog, I hate Christmas, and totally hate getting gifts, I can not answer how you should react, but my thougts are, you should react in the way your actually feeling at the time, not in the way you think your ‘supposed’ to act.
    Being BPD, doesn’t make you any different to anyone else apart from the fact that your emotions are extreme, it does not make you a bad person, a manipulative person, a person who should punish themselves for having any form of mental illness.
    You deserve to be happy when you feel happy, you deserve to know that this BPD is NOT your fault, or your doing, its something that you simply have in your life, and in time you will come to understand how to live along side it.
    Until then you need to remind yourself to try not to look so deeply into things, not to pick them apart and over analyse them, Christmas time sucks at the best of times, just remember Christmas is still over two months away, and Christmas now days is one of those hall mark holidays, as I call them, a holiday that the shops use to profit from, it has somehow lost its meaning, as we go out like mad people in the Christmas rush at the shops (one I might add that sparks a panic attack in me like no other), and we race to get the best of this and the best of that, truth is honey, if a gift comes from your heart, it does not matter if it cost 10 cents or $100, if you give with your heart, then you have given a person something that is priceless.

  2. I used to feel the same way. I didn’t find a good way of stopping that anxiety…I just slowly cut everyone out of my life. Now I don’t have to worry about it. I do remember worrying SO MUCH about how I would act when I received a gift. I’ve been told that Idon’t know how to show gratitude, so I was always self concious about how my face looked, the sounds I made, and the things I said. I was also SO worried about my gift (and therefore ME) being rejected when I spent so much time picking things out for people. Sorry I don’t have any advice, but I completely understand how you feel.

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